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Gauge Capability Study

[Introduction to SQC – Chapter 7]

Introduction [p.352]

In any situation involving measurement, some of the observed variability will be due

to product itself and some will be due to measurement error or gauge variability.

σ Total
2
= σ Pr2 oduct + σ Gauge
2

Where σ Total
2
is the total observed variance. σ Pr2 oduct is the variance that is due to the

product and σ Gauge


2
is the variance that is due to the measurement error.

A control chart can be used to separate the components of variance identified above

and provide an assessment of how capable the gauge is for the intended purpose.

Example: [p.353]

An instrument is planned for use in a proposed SPC implementation. An assessment

of gauge capability is required.

Twenty units of product are obtained and numbered. The same operator measures

each unit twice with the gauge. A X and R control chart is then developed.

The X chart may exhibit many parts outside the limits as many of the units may have

had vastly different dimensions. The R chart directly shows the magnitude of the

measurement error. The R value shows the difference in measurements made on the

same units using the same instrument. Out-of-control points on the Range chart would

indicate that the operator is having difficulty using the instrument.

Page 1 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


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Unit x1 x2 X R
1 21 20 20.5 1
2 24 23 23.5 1
3 20 21 20.5 1
4 27 27 27.0 0
5 19 18 18.5 1
6 23 21 22.0 2
7 22 21 21.5 1
8 19 17 18.0 2
9 24 23 23.5 1
10 25 23 24.0 2
11 21 20 20.5 1
12 18 19 18.5 1
13 23 25 24.0 2
14 24 24 24.0 0
15 29 30 29.5 1
16 26 26 26.0 0
17 20 20 20.0 0
18 19 21 20.0 2
19 25 26 25.5 1
20 19 19 19.0 0

X = 22.3
R = 1.0

Xbar/R Chart

30 1
1
1 1 3.0SL=24.18
Means

25
X=22.30
20 1 1 -3.0SL=20.42
1 1 1
1
Subgroup 0 10 20

3.0SL=3.267
3
Ranges

1 R=1.000

0 -3.0SL=0.000

Page 2 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


Institute of Technology Sligo
The standard deviation of the measurement error, σ Gauge can be estimated from the

Range chart.

R 1.0
σ Gauge = = = 0.887
d 2 1.128

The distribution of measurement error follows the normal distribution. 6σ Gauge is a

good estimate of gauge capability.

6σ Gauge = 6(0.887) = 5.32

This implies that individual measurements can vary by as much as ± 3σ Gauge (i.e. ±

2.66) due to gauge error or measurement error.

Precision To Tolerance Ratio [p.354]

It is useful to compare the gauge capability (of the instrument) to the total

specification (of the product). This is called the Precision to Tolerance Ratio (or P/T

Ratio) and is essentially the reciprocal of the process capability ratio.

P 6σ Gauge
=
T USL − LSL

If the part being inspected has an USL and LSL of 60 and 5 respectively, then the P/T

ratio is calculated as follows:

P 5.32
= = 0.097 (9.7%)
T 60 − 5

A general rule of thumb is that the P/T ratio should be ≤ 0.10 (i.e. 10%). P/T ratios

above this indicate that there is inadequate gauge capability.

Montgomery cautions against too much reliance on this rule of thumb.

Page 3 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


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Others measures of gauge capability have been proposed such as the ratio of product

variability to total variability and also the ratio of measurement system variability to

total variability.

Gauge Variability as a Percentage of Total Variability [p.355]

The total variability for the data presented earlier (i.e. 20 units, each measured twice)

can be determined by calculating the sample standard deviation S, of all the

measurements (i.e. n = 40). This is determined as S = 3.172 and represents an estimate

of the total variability and includes both the product variability and gauge variability.

σ Total
2
= S 2 = (3.172) 2 = 10.06

σ Gauge
2
= (0.887) 2 = 0.79

As σ Total
2
= σ Pr2 oduct + σ Gauge
2
, it is now possible to calculate the variability due to the

product.

σ Pr2 oduct = 10.06 − 0.79 = 9.27

σ Pr oduct = 9.27 = 3.04

The ratio of product variability to total variability can be expressed as:

σ product
2
9.26
ρp = 2 = = 0.92.1
σ Total 10.05

Similarly we can calculate the ratio of measurement system variability to total

variability.

σ Gauge
2
0.79
ρm = = = 0.079
σ Total 10.05
2

Note ρ p = 1 − ρ m

Page 4 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


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ρ p and ρ m are often expressed as percentages. This means that the measuring

instrument contributes 7.9% of the total observe variance in the measurements.

Expressing the gauge variability as a percentage of the product variability is often a

more meaningful expression of gauge capability than the P/T ratio, as it does not

depend on the specification.

Components of Measurement Error [p.357]

In the previous example we have considered the situation of a single operator. In most

cases, more than one operator will be involves in using the gauge. It is therefore

important to also consider the variability between operators.

We can therefore consider the components of measurement error as:

σ Measuremen
2
t Error = σ Gauge = σ Reproducability + σ Repeatability
2 2 2

Reproducability: Measurement error due to different operators using the gauge.

Repeatability: Measurement error due to the inherent precision of the gauge (same

operator).

Example:

In the earlier example we consider only one operator. We now consider two additional

operators, (i.e. Operator 2 and Operator 3). Each of these operators also measure each

of the units twice. The results are shown as follows:

Page 5 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


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Operator 1 Operator 2 Operator 3
Unit x11 x12 X1 R1 x 21 x 22 X2 R2 x31 x32 X3 R3
1 21 20 20.5 1 20 20 20.0 0 19 21 20.0 2
2 24 23 23.5 1 24 24 24.0 0 23 24 23.5 1
3 20 21 20.5 1 19 21 20.0 2 20 22 21.0 2
4 27 27 27.0 0 28 26 27.0 2 27 28 27.5 1
5 19 18 18.5 1 19 18 18.5 1 18 21 19.5 3
6 23 21 22.0 2 24 21 22.5 3 23 22 22.5 1
7 22 21 21.5 1 22 24 23.0 2 22 20 21.0 2
8 19 17 18.0 2 18 20 19.0 2 19 18 18.5 1
9 24 23 23.5 1 25 23 24.0 2 24 24 24.0 0
10 25 23 24.0 2 26 25 25.5 1 24 25 24.5 1
11 21 20 20.5 1 20 20 20.0 0 21 20 20.5 1
12 18 19 18.5 1 17 19 18.0 2 18 19 18.5 1
13 23 25 24.0 2 25 25 25.0 0 25 25 25.0 0
14 24 24 24.0 0 23 25 24.0 2 24 25 24.5 1
15 29 30 29.5 1 30 28 29.0 2 21 20 20.5 1
16 26 26 26.0 0 25 26 25.5 1 25 27 26.0 2
17 20 20 20.0 0 19 20 19.5 1 20 20 20.0 0
18 19 21 20.0 2 19 19 19.0 0 21 23 22.0 2
19 25 26 25.5 1 25 24 24.5 1 25 25 25.0 0
20 19 19 19.0 0 18 17 17.5 1 19 17 18.0 2
X 1 = 22.3 R1 = 1.00 X 2 = 22.28 R2 = 1.25 X 3 = 22.10 R3 = 1.20

Page 6 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


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The gauge repeatability is obtained from the average of the three ranges.

R1 + R2 + R3
R = = 1.15
3

R 1.15
σ Repeatability = = = 1.02
d 2 1.128

d 2 is based on a sample size of n = 2, as each range value was based on the range

between two measurements.

The gauge reproducability is based on the variability between the three operators. If

the X i values differ it is due to the difference between the operators since all measure

the same parts.

(
X Max = Max X 1 , X 2 , X 3 = 22.3 )
(
X Min = Min X 1 , X 2 , X 3 = 22.10)
R X = X Max − X Min = 22.3 − 22.10 = 0.20

RX 0.20
σ Reproducability = = = 0.12
d2 1.693

d 2 is chosen as 1.693 as R X is based on three operators (i.e. n = 3)

We have now estimated both components of the measurement error.

σ Gauge
2
= σ Reproducab
2
ility + σ Repeatability
2

σ Gauge = (0.12 ) + (1.02 ) = 1.0548


2 2 2

σ Gauge = 1.0548 = 1.03

Calculate the P/T ratio

P 6σ Gauge 6(1.03)
= = = 0.11
T USL − LSL 60 − 5

Page 7 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


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The conclusion drawn is that the gauge capability is not adequate.

As σ Repeatability >> σ Reproducability , training the operators will not solve the problem. The

problem lies with the gauge itself and we should look to another inspection device.

Page 8 of Gauge Capability Dr John Donovan


Institute of Technology Sligo